Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Just Passing Through

Dear Loyal Readers and Friends of Darius -

It is with great sadness that I am posting on Darius' behalf. At 10:13am on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, Darius took her last breath and left this world. As you know from following her blog, she was a passionate, multi-talented and multi-faceted woman. I knew her for 30+ years as my beloved Aunt Donna.

There are no words to fill the void that she has left in my heart and in this world. She was always just passing through, soaking in as much experience in this world as she possibly could, and sharing every ounce of her knowledge and perspective with anyone who wanted to partake.

I hope that she has blessed your life as she has mine, from this, her little corner of the world wide web.

Thank you for sharing and supporting my wonderful Aunt.

Shawnee R. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Guide to Pesticides in Produce

We all worry about what's in or on our foods. This may be a help.
The growing concerns about chemical pesticide exposure in our food is exactly why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) developed its annual list of “clean” and “dirty” foods. From EWG’s website ( )

The Dirty Dozen
    Nectarines (imported)
    Grapes (imported)
    Sweet Bell Peppers
    Blueberries (domestic)
    Kale/Collard Greens

The Clean Fifteen
    Sweet Corn
    Sweet Peas
    Cantaloupe (domestic)
    Sweet Potatoes

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Preparedness and Disease

If you have followed my blog for long, you know that 2 important factors for me are nutrient-dense (healthy) foods, and being prepared for what may come our way.

I usually have a good stock in my pantry of home-canned foods but with being hospitalized 7 times last year I really cut into the larder without the energy to replace items.

Normally I have enough stored (canned) veggies and meats for as much as a year, enough water filters for several months, a pile of dry firewood in case I have to cook over an open fire or on my wood stove when it's cold, but that has diminished over the last year. I hope this year will be better, and my garden productive.

However, one thing I'm not prepared for is a pandemic. I just have 2 banker's boxes of medical stuff like bandages and antiseptics and 2 good first-aid books with drawings even an idiot should be able to understand.

I watched a show on the history channel last week about the Bubonic Plague and I just cannot wrap my mind around losing half the population... about 100 MILLION people in Europe at the time. Often there were so many deaths in a single day that they could not keep up with burials.

Think about your extended family, add in some friends and neighbors, and then imagine half of them dead in short order of a disease without control. That's scary.

The CDC says there are STILL pockets of the Plague around the world... that's also scary. Plus, the more they adulterate our food supply, the more we become vulnerable to ANY disease that comes along... and the diseases have grown more resistant to our "modern medicines" thanks to feeding antibiotics to the animals grown for us to eat, and the air-carried pollen of GMO's.

I wish I had some suggestions for those kind of preparations but I don't. I DO think eating as healthy as we can is a first line of defense but that may not be enough to avoid a disaster.

If any of you have any good suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Zinc and Colds

I've kept zinc supplements and lozenges on hand for years, taking some whenever I've had a cold coming on, but never looked into exactly how and why it works. I never take it in a daily basis because I think I get enough in my foods.

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, AU have discovered how Zinc interplays with one of the deadliest bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, which kills more than one million people a year by causing pneumonia, meningitis and other serious infectious diseases.

Zinc starves the bacteria that need to feed off manganese (an essential metal), bacteria that can to thrive and attack the body. By blocking this process, Zinc weakens the bacteria and makes the job of the immune system so much easier.

The essential mineral Zinc, is one of the very best anti-bacterial agents.

Food Sources:
Beef and Lamb
Pork & Chicken
Wheat Germ
Spinach and Silverbeet (Chard)
Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Cocoa and Chocolate (Cocoa Powder)
Dry Beans or Legumes

Zinc - An Essential Mineral

Zinc is an essential mineral present in nearly every cell of your body. Zinc stimulates the work of about 100 enzymes that keep your body functioning normally. In addition, your body needs zinc to use nutrients for immunity, for wound healing and for maintaining your senses of taste and smell. Food is the best source of zinc, as supplements have not proven (to date) to be a sufficient source. It is very difficult to get too much zinc in your diet; however, supplements may cause harmful side effects: Lowering of HDL (good) cholesterol levels, weakening of immune response and impairment of copper absorption. Zinc is found in many different foods from both animal and plant sources so you can usually get all you need from a variety of foods.

Foods of animal origin are the best sources: Lean meat, poultry, and some seafood, liver and, in small amounts, milk and eggs. In fact, the body absorbs zinc better from a diet rich in animal protein than from one high in plant protein. You also get zinc from whole-grain foods, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals and some legumes, but phytates in those foods can decrease its rate of absorption.

If you are deficient in zinc, symptoms include reduced immunity, appetite loss, skin changes and impaired growth - and, during pregnancy, birth defects. The causes are poor intake, poor absorption, zinc loss or increased need. Vegetarians may need more since zinc from plant sources is not absorbed as well as zinc from other sources. Fortified cereal may be the best source.

There are some health-conditions linked to poor zinc status: Digestive diseases, alcoholism, inadequate calorie intake and poor infant and childhood growth. The USDA found that high fat, low-carbohydrate diets do not provide an adequate supply of zinc. If you suspect a deficiency, talk to your doctor about your symptoms before trying a supplement. Should you and your doctor decide you need a supplement, read the label's Supplement Facts to help keep your daily zinc intake under the UL.